Are You Serving Carcinogens With Your Barbecue?

Juliet Farmer
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Barbecue
Photo by alisdair
Barbecue is one of summer's rites of passage, but is it healthy?

I love everything about barbecue season -- the food, that cleanup is a snap, and the fact that it allows my kitchen a much-needed break and keeps the house cooler during the hot summer months.

Grilling is touted as a great way to cook food, but only if you're doing it right. If done wrong, your food can become chock-full of carcinogens.

Do you know how to barbecue safely?

I only recently started eating meat after a multi-year hiatus, and I'm excited to grill up some steak soon. While researching for the perfect way to grill a steak, I stumbled across a CureToday story about carcinogens and barbecuing.

Carcinogens are formed when meat is cooked quickly at high temperatures on a grill (gas or charcoal). But high heat isn't the only factor -- when fat drips off meat into the flame or heating element and smoke generates, this splatter effect can also cause carcinogens.

Apparently there's a link between carcinogens found in grilled meat and colorectal adenoma risk. Colorectal adenomas are benign tumors and the starting point of most colon cancers, as well as a marker for colon cancer risk, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Studies have also linked carcinogens found in grilled meats to higher risk of breast cancer, stomach cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Quick Barbecue Tips:

  • Cook low and slow (lower temp, longer time).
  • Put distance between heat and meat (raise the grill rack if you can).
  • Trim the fat (fat burns).
  • Cook meat partially before grilling.
  • During grilling, flip meat frequently.
  • Put foil on or under the grill to reduce splatter.
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